Tag Archives: dunedin

A Day in Dunedin

Hanna doesn’t have the fondest of memories of her time spent in Dunedin on our last trip. This university city is where she got the pleasant gift of pneumonia . She spent most of her days holed up in bed, so she didn’t see all too much of the city.

We planned only one full day in Dunedin this time around, so we needed to make it action-packed. Our first stop: the Otago Settlers Museum. Detailing the first settlers to the Dunedin area, this free museum was pretty cool. Our favorite part was dress-up:

19th-Century Dunedin Garb. These People Were Tiny as the Clothes Were Quite Small.

19th-Century Dunedin Garb. These People Were Tiny as the Clothes Were Quite Small.

Secret Service for Mr. Lincoln.

Secret Service for Mr. Lincoln.

While at the museum, we also managed to get a nice bike ride in:

Hanna and Her Old-Timey Bike.

Hanna and Her Old-Timey Bike.

The next stop was the most important. We had to go to the Cadbury Factory to see what chocolate was on sale. We did the tour last time and didn’t feel the need to do it again. The chocolate is actually cheaper at the grocery store across the street, but being the budget shoppers we are, we had to do a quick price comparison:

Dream for Mike and Caramello for Hanna.

Dream for Mike and Caramello for Hanna.

After a few bites of chocolate, it was off to the world’s steepest street. Mike climbed up on our last trip, but Hanna was on the verge of pneumonia and didn’t make the attempt. She was determined to make the climb this time. The street is about a quarter-mile long and really doesn’t look that steep from the bottom:

Ready for the Climb.

Ready for the Climb.

It takes about ten minutes to walk up, but we are proud to say that both of us made it this time:

Mountain Climbers.

Mountain Climbers.

View from Up High.

View from Up High.

Neither of us know how to drive stick, but we definitely wouldn’t want to learn on this street.

After a few more nibbles of chocolate, we regained our strength and drove over to the Botanic Gardens. We pretended we were botanists and took a ton of pictures of flowers (no, really, we did…Mike’s mom would be proud):

Taking Time to Stop and Smell the Roses.

Taking Time to Stop and Smell the Roses.

Taking Even More Time.

Taking Even More Time.

A third round of chocolate happened. We then decided to drive out to the Otago Peninsula to see what we could find. New Zealand’s only castle and an albatross center are on this peninsula, but our goal was to head to Sandfly Beach to find the penguins. Ten minutes of winding roads that hugged the water (sans guardrail) were enough for Hanna. Seeing as we rarely drive (and even more rarely drive on the left-hand side of the road), we decided to cut our losses and turn around. We found an easier road, and while we didn’t find penguins, we stumbled across a beautiful beach:

Empty Wide Beach.

Empty Wide Beach.

Chilly Mike. Definitely a Lot Colder Here than Australia.

Chilly Mike. Definitely a Lot Colder Here than Australia.

Kids Sledding Down the Sand Dunes.

Kids Sledding Down the Sand Dunes.

Go Away, Clouds. Our Tans Are Fading.

Go Away, Clouds. Our Tans Are Fading.

We really like Dunedin. It has a city feel with beautiful scenery (Hanna could do without the hills though), and we’re really glad we came back here. We stayed at the exact same hostel, though we didn’t read all seven Harry Potter books this time . The best part? Hanna didn’t get pneumonia!

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Game Plan for New Zealand

We’re now kinda sorta back to real time again on the blog. We left the Sunshine Coast on Tuesday and flew to Christchurch. We luckily got bumped up to an exit row of three seats: Mike on the aisle, Hanna in the middle, and a random thirtysomething Kiwi guy by the window. What should have been an easy three hour flight in which Hanna got some shuteye was anything but.  Kiwi guy sat spread eagle the whole flight (granted he was quite tall) and fell asleep immediately. He breathed through his mouth, took up the whole armrest, and inched his entire right leg into Hanna’s space.  Seriously his entire leg took up half of Hanna’s foot space. Needless to say, Hanna audibly sighed a lot, muttered bitchy comments, and took up half of Mike’s space. Awesome.

We have two weeks on the South Island of New Zealand, and boy, are we ready to drive. On our last trip, we took our time going down the East Coast only to be derailed by Hanna’s pneumonia. We had basically a week to speed up the West Coast, so on this trip, we will attempt to see what we sped by last time.

Our Chariot. It’s a Toyota Vitz, But Mike Keeps Forgetting and Calling It a Yitz.

Our Chariot. It’s a Toyota Vitz, But Mike Keeps Forgetting and Calling It a Yitz.

Our goals this time around? Discovering the beauty of Milford Sound on a cruise, doing some sort of adventure in Queenstown, actually seeing more of the glaciers, relaxing in thermal springs, swimming with wild dolphins (Mike only…Hanna’s worried about getting seasick on the ride out), and seeing more sheep. We won’t have WiFi everywhere we go, so posting might be sporadic. We shall see.

Our first drive from Christchurch down to Dunedin included a stop at a cookie factory:

Huge Bag of Broken Cookies for NZ $6.50 (About US $5.40).

Huge Bag of Broken Cookies for NZ $6.50 (About US $5.40).

Hanna Enjoying Said Cookies in the Yitz.

Hanna Enjoying Said Cookies in the Yitz.

Off to a good start, right?

The Best Laid Plans

We left the comfortable confines of Dunedin and made the four-hour drive to Queenstown. This beautiful town sits on the banks of Lake Wakatipu and has a mountain range (The Remarkables) as its backdrop. Totally reminds us of a Colorado ski town.

Queenstown is known for being the adventure capital of New Zealand. White water rafting, skydiving, paragliding, jetboat tides…name an extreme activity, and you can do it here.

You know what’s coming next—this is where we had planned on bungee jumping, but Hanna’s sickness put a damper on that. We drove past Kawarau Bridge (home of the world’s first commercial jump) and stopped to watch for a bit. Hanna got so into the spirit of things that she decided to say, “Screw you, health” and just did it:

Kidding. That’s some Indian tween who was there with her family.

After seeing the height (only about 140 feet which honestly doesn’t seem that tall) and total time spent in air (maybe 30 seconds from platform to banks of the river?), it just didn’t seem worth it. Hanna kept saying that even though she couldn’t do it because of the current state of her lungs, Mike should do it if he really wanted. Because he is the best husband ever, he didn’t think it was fair to do something Hanna’s sickness has precluded her from doing.

We came to New Zealand with intentions to bungee jump, and neither of us did. Oh well…there’s always our next trip to New Zealand when Hanna’s health has returned.

Goodbye, Dear Dunedin

We spent the first three nights in a dorm room at Hogwartz, but then Hanna made the very stupid choice to get sick. How dare she. For the past eight days and nights, this is pretty much all we have seen:

The View from Mike’s Bed.

We loved our cozy little private room, but after watching all of the movies on our computer, playing way too much Spider Solitaire, and zooming through the Harry Potter books (Mike’s on 5, and Hanna’s on 4), we had had enough of our self-imposed isolation. We only have about a week left on the South Island, and so we decided it’s time to get a move on. Hanna’s still pretty low energy, but she feels well enough to start the trek to the West Coast.

We’re in a bit of a pickle: the majority of the attractions here involve some sort of physical activity, namely walking. Hanna coughs up a storm and is out of breath after going up a short flight of stairs, but she’ll continue to take it easy as we travel. We’ll see what we see. New Zealand isn’t going anywhere…

Though Dunedin is a decently big town which is centered around the Octagon (basically the octagon-shaped town square which is surrounded by shops, pretty churches, and restaurants), we didn’t explore as much as we would have liked…but we’re okay with that. We did get to know the library (with its free yet very unreliable WiFi) and grocery store pretty well.

Goodbye, Dunedin. Goodbye, Hogwartz.

Wait…Where?

We meet a lot of people by staying in hostels, but most of these are single-serving friends. You have a long chat, you enjoy your time with them, and then it’s time to travel to the next city. Facebook and email have made it a lot easier to stay connected, but we typically find ourselves enjoying the moments we have with people and then moving on. Only certain people we meet get the privilege and honor of staying in touch with us. You know who you are.

We recently met a kid who grew up not too far away from Mike. He heard our wonderful accents and immediately loved the fact that we were American too. He was a nice enough kid but kinda naïve. He was obsessed with asking people where they were from, and the answers would come pouring out: Holland, Germany, Israel, Sweden. Whenever people would ask him where he was from, his answer was always “Cleveland, Ohio.” Not the United States. Not America. Not USA. Cleveland. Ohio.

While Mike’s happy to have grown up there, he totally realizes that not every person around the world knows that thriving metropolis. Hell, not everyone knows the state of Ohio. This kid, however, made it seem that you must know Cleveland. Clearly it’s on the same page as London, Paris, or Beijing.

About ten of us sat in the dining room one evening and chatted about differences between our countries. Cleveland Kid kept making comments about stereotypical Cleveland things (lake-effect snow, sports teams, his local college) as if everyone would know immediately what he was talking about. People just looked lost.

Mike’s favorite moment came when a young Dutch kid asked again where Cleveland Kid was from. When he responded in his typical manner, there was a five-second pause. Dutch Kid asked the question again. Cleveland Kid seemed confused that Dutch Kid didn’t know where Cleveland was. Finally the Dutch Kid says, “Oh, is that America?”

We think that we live in the greatest city in the world, but even when we meet people, we are more inclined to say “the States” or “America” before saying “New York.” This kid, however, will always be full of Cleveland pride. Sadly we didn’t exchange contact info with him.

Just Like Bennifer or Brangelina

If The Two of Us Ever Opened a Christian Bookstore, This Is Totally What It Would Be Called.

The Lives of Shut-Ins in Dunedin

Our time in Dunedin has been the longest we have ever spent in one hostel. Ten nights and counting… You don’t truly appreciate the turnaround of hostel guests until you spend that much time in the same place. While Hanna has been holed up in our private room (don’t worry…we fortunately have two twin beds, so the risk of Mike getting coughed on is slightly less), Mike has been the one in the kitchen preparing meals. And by preparing meals, we mean putting bread in a toaster, microwaving popcorn, or heating up a sausage roll and a cup of delicious instant tomato soup for himself.

During the time in the kitchen, Mike has chatted with a smattering of people from all over. The subject of Hanna’s sickness inevitably comes up when Mike gets asked if he is traveling by himself, and so he has told pretty much every guest about pneumatic Hanna. Besides the hostel owners, no one has really seen her, and Mike skulks to and from the kitchen to make food for this mysterious woman. What if Hanna wasn’t real? What if Mike made her up? What if Mike was crazy and had an imaginary wife? We had a good laugh about this and decided it would make a good book or film.

The highlight of Mike’s day is coming back upstairs to report all of the wacky things he has witnessed going on in the hostel: “The Israeli couple is making yet another feast.” “That Frenchy is wearing a scarf INSIDE again.” “Crazy Old German Lady is muttering and laughing to herself…again.” Hanna always gets a chuckle out of Mike’s observations and feels bad that he has to make friends by himself.

No real update about Hanna. The coughing has definitely gone down a bit, but she’s just tired. We booked a few more nights here. No sense in leaving the relatively cheap private room in a great hostel…